Back to the States

Leaning Tower of Pisa

After seven months of travel in Europe, we head back to the States the same way we came, a Trans-Atlantic cruise.  This cruise departed from Civitavecchia, Italy and landed in Ft. Lauderdale.  I very much enjoy the days at sea.  We can be as busy as we wish or simply relax.

Sixteen Day Trans-Atlantic Cruise to Ft. Lauderdale

The Leaning Tower of Pisa

Because we had already been exploring Europe for so long, at times I’m disappointed when there is a stop on our cruise itinerary, offering yet another port to explore.  Obviously others on the cruise selected this particular route because of the many interesting ports.  However, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is not something the first time traveler should miss.  (Sorry Kris…) Despite predicted rains and a long train ride, I set out alone to this tourist trap attraction.  After waiting 90 minutes I boarded the local train expecting to be dropped off just blocks from the tower.  Noticing the train speed through my desired stop, I hurriedly found the conductor who only spoke Italian.  Panicked tourists are not new to this man.  “Mai de Domenica,” bummer, not on Sundays.  So I then had to navigate from the subsequent stop via the local bus back to the tower, all the time worrying about the absolute deadline of getting back to the ship for departure.  Thus far, the rain had held off.  But it started to pour just as I exited the bus, sending the throngs of tourists following their-flag toting leaders to shelter.  This was a day full of minor missteps at every single leg of the journey.  I looked forward to the next day at sea.


Hotdog! Breakfast

Throughout Europe we stayed at small rentals found through VRBO (Vacation Rental by Owner) or Airbnb.  We would then grocery shop for a simple fruit and cereal breakfast.  Now destined for Italy from Montenegro, we stayed in some hotels and were quickly reminded why we avoid these… their breakfasts.  The typical morning offerings include cucumbers, beets, tomatoes, pickles, olives, salami and lunch meat.

Breakfast Spread

Breakfast Spread

Of course you need to leave room for the nearly raw bacon and beanie weenies.

Hotdogs for Breakfast


What’s to See at Sea

Flying Fish

Flying Fish

Our routine was to exercise 0n the ship every day when not in port.  Staring out at the waves we would see flying fish gliding from the peak of one wave and diving into another.  Capturing one with my camera proved to be quite a challenge lasting several days.  Success at last.

There were also soaring albatross.  These birds can have a wingspan of over 11 feet.  Gaining altitude by gliding into the wind, they can fly for many hundreds of miles and never flap their wings.


More unexpected sights while at sea, mowing the lawn.

Mowing the Lawn

Mowing the Lawn

Sea Scenery

Rainbow in the mist


Relaxing away from the crowds


I took far too many photos of ocean waves.  None turned out as well as hoped or imagined.  I find them soothing, relaxing and never ending.

Endless waves


Turquoise Waters


I’m looking forward to the variety of foods available in the United States of America, specifically Thai, Indian and especially Mexican food from Northern New Mexico.  Hummm red, green or Christmas?


Our next ‘blog’ stop will likely be White Sands National Monument in New Mexico.


10 thoughts on “Back to the States

  1. Wow! Seven months. Where has it gone. Congrats! My husband and I area planning this cruise for next year. Now you will take time to readjust to being back. Thanks for sharing your journey. I plan to go back and reread your blogs. Wish I knew you were here. My husband and I would have loved to have met you!

  2. I think we were on the same ship, Celebrity Silhouette? I wish we had known as we would love to meet you and swap war stories. I can identify with your problems getting to Pisa. We stayed on the ship that day due to the rain and we also like the days at sea best. Hope we can meet some day.

    • What a small world. I feel bad about my lazy post, but it was the second time were were on the Silhouette so had already explored the boat. We will need to see when and where we can meet up. Thanks for reading of our travels.

  3. Hi Harold! Nice photo of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Yes, I would of liked to have toured it when I joined you two for a few weeks in 2014. However, I know we were on a tight schedule moving from Florence to Cinque A Terra that day. I did get to see the top of the tower as our train zoomed by, lol! This along with so many other amazing photos you have posted gives me a reason to go back to Italy ??! ????
    Thanks for sharing your travels with us! Kris ?

    • We could have done more in Venice as well. I may need to face it, we are just naturally lazy I guess. Thanks to you I did explore more of Manerola than I would otherwise have done. Thanks.

  4. Welcome home and thanks for the beautiful visuals and the interesting lessons learned. I have enjoyed all of them thoroughly!! The cloud photo in this blog is especially special!!

    • Thank you very much for your comments and following along while we travel. I was even getting too tired to write this last blog. Coming up soon will be White Sands and Las Vegas…

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